By Jon Cassidy | Watchdog.org
HOUSTON — State Rep. David Simpson took up the defense of whistleblowing University of Texas regent Wallace Hall in a five-page letter sent to his legislative colleagues Monday, calling the impeachment hearings conducted so far a “farce.”
Simpson takes square aim at the one reason Rep. Dan Flynn, co-chair of that impeachment committee, has left himself for voting for Hall’s ouster.
Last month, Flynn voted for Hall’s impeachment one week after writing that none of the accusations his committee had assembled “merit levels of impeachment,” and refuting each of the accusations with nine pages of arguments straight from the pages of watchdog.org.
The only justification Flynn has offered is that Hall’s refusal to participate in the hearings was a “slap in the face” to the Legislature. He hasn’t explained how such a slap could be considered an impeachable offense.
Simpson writes that Flynn’s insincere invitation to Hall could be “compared to the opportunity to bring the rope to your own lynching. The Committee did move to compel Hall to testify by subpoena as they did others, but then recalled the subpoena to Hall thereby not affording him the freedom to speak specifically about the admissions scandal. Hall was instead given the opportunity to testify before the Committee (without a subpoena), but his counsel was not given opportunity to cross-examine witnesses. In other words, the Committee was only interested in one side of the story.”
Simpson points out Hall’s investigations have unearthed real problems, while the committee hasn’t found one substantive charge to bring against Hall.
“According to the report to the Committee by outside counsel, the original investigation into Hall focused on three areas:
- Did Hall fail to disclose material information on his regent application?
- Did Hall reveal information about students that violated their privacy?
- Did Hall exceed his role as a regent by constantly requesting massive information from the University of Texas?
“The answers were ‘no,’ ‘no,’ and ‘not according to his peers.’”
Simpson also points out the committee’s special counsel, Rusty Hardin, has ignored his contractual obligation to submit monthly bills for his work.
“It is also troubling that ‘special’ counsel has only submitted bills through November 2013 (which totaled $200,000). According to Sections 2 and 3 of the contract with Rusty Hardin & Associates, L.L.P., the Speaker must approve both Hardin’s ‘work’ and the payment of his bills. Estimates of the ‘final’ bill range from an additional $200,000 to $400,000 with the process being prolonged for months preparing the report to the Committee. Finally, no explanation has been given for Hardin’s refusal (or third party directive) to produce the remaining bills, despite an express obligation in Hardin’s contract to bill on a monthly basis.”
The entire letter can be found here.
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